Best lip plumpers: Products to achieve fuller lips without filler

·9-min read
 (Dior)
(Dior)

Plump lips are all the rage, but not all of us are blessed with a pillowy pout.

When Kylie Jenner stepped out with her now signature big lips, it led to a surge in pricey and painful injectables to recreate the look. As of January 2021, lip fillers were the most popular cosmetic procedure searched online in the UK with 40.5 thousand monthly searches.

But what if we told you that you can get fuller lips without the need for filler? Enter the lip plumper - the subtle, painless (and sometimes instant) solution to achieving a plumper pout.

Lip plumpers have been knocking around the beauty shelves for quite some time. Back in the day we were limited to fiery glosses that brought on a burning sensation using irritant ingredients such as peppermint, ginger and cinnamon to increase blood flow.

However, the market is now home to more lightweight formulas that gently plump your lips while simultaneously doing your skin some favours. From soothing serums and cooling creams, to glowy glosses and brilliant balms, you can now add lip plumpers into any step of your skincare routine.

So, how do these newer generations of lip plumpers work? Dr Simon Zokaie, Cosmetic Dermatologist at Linia Skin Clinic explains, “Some can work by delivering absorbable fragments of moisturising hyaluronic acid to the lips, while others use peptides and a mixture of hyaluronic acid to plump by building collagen.” In any case, Dr Zokaie stresses the importance of being patient and realistic with results as they only last while the product is being used.

Both these forms of lip plumper contain humectants - special moisturising agents that help attract and retain water molecules. The hydration powerhouse hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found within our bodies that keeps skin supple. Once absorbed by the lips, the hydrating effect gives lips a fuller look. According to Dr Zokaie: “when using the hyaluronic-based lip plumpers, one must ensure to keep lips hydrated and drink plenty of water.”

Peptides are strings of amino acids that boost collagen production and promote cell growth. Usually found in creams and serums, these miracle peptides help to eliminate fine lines and wrinkles in the skin surrounding the lips. However, Dr Zokaie explains that lip plumpers containing peptides must be used regularly as instructed as results can be slower.

For a quick fix, the nostalgic tingly glosses are still best for achieving luscious lips. The instant volumising effect can even last several hours after application. Be wary not to overuse them. Consistent use can cause cracked lips and they also lose effectiveness over time as your lips become more tolerant to the active ingredients.

So, stop scouring the internet for cosmetic clinics. Save yourself the pain of filler and do your bank account a favour by opting for one of these alternative lip plumping products instead.

ARK Skincare Advanced Action Plumping Lip Cream

Established in 2009 with an innovative ‘age intelligent’ approach to skin care, this British brand prides itself on using natural bioactive ingredients. This particular lip plumping cream, suitable for all ages, contains plumping peptides, macadamia lipids and aloe vera to help hydrate and increase lip volume while also reducing fine lines. It can be used overnight as an intensive lip treatment or during the day to keep lips supple.

This multifaceted cream also makes an excellent primer, especially under matte lipsticks that tend to have a drying effect. A little of this product goes a long way, so don’t let the higher price range put you off. The effective pump helps control the amount so no product goes to waste. With soothing anti-irritant allantoin, this cream is especially suitable for those with sensitive skin.

Buy now £32.00, FeelUnique

Clarins Natural Lip Perfector

French cosmetic brand Clarins has been a stalwart in the beauty industry for over 60 years, and with the natural lip perfector, it’s clear why. Somewhere between a gloss and a cream, the velvety texture of this lip plumper leaves lips looking smooth, shiny and naturally fuller thanks to wonder ingredients Shea butter and vitamin F.

This non-sticky formula has a more sheer coverage than other contenders on this list so works best as a moisturising seal on top of your regular lippy or gloss. However, when worn alone the subtle finish still gives lips a natural boost of volume, colour and shine (there’s a reason it counts the Duchess of Cambridge among its loyal fan base). The angled felt applicator makes it easy to evenly apply and, with six subtle shades and a gentle vanilla scent, it’s a luxurious product.

Buy now £19.50, Clarins

Dr ESHO SCULPT Lip Serum

Described on their website as a ‘no needle solution’ to enhance lip shape, this lip serum from ESHO has everything you want from a lip plumper. The tingly sensation on application effectively defines the lip without being too fiery, instantly plump by enhancing the lip’s natural contours.

With hydrating squalane, soothing Shea butter and cooling menthyl lactate, this serum also works to increase volume in the long-term. The flat plastic nozzle has holes either side so the lightweight formula glides to cover both the top and bottom lip with ease. Pair with their peptide-based lip treatment PAUSE for an extra boosting effect.

Buy now £21.99, FeelUnique

Barry M That’s Swell! XXL Extreme Lip Plumper

London-based beauty fave Barry M is a popular brand with plumping pundits. The That’s Swell! range spans from their original plumper to an extra fiery formula, with primers and fruity flavours to choose from too.

With peptides to stimulate the skin’s natural collagen production, and tingly ginger root and sichuan pepper fruit extract to increase blood flow, lips will look firmer and plumper in minutes. Barry M recommends exfoliating your lips before applying for a longer lasting effect. Be warned though, this gloss does pack more of a punch in terms of its tingle than others on the list. Their XXXL version is not for the faint of heart.

Buy now £3.74, lookfantastic

Dior Addict Lip Maximiser Serum

The Dior Addict Lip Maximizer range is a cult classic in the world of lip plumpers. This plumping serum has all the volumising benefits of gloss but in a clear, nourishing serum. Dior’s lip maximiser serum has been formulated with skincare in mind with the intense hydrating effects lasting up to 24 hours!

Lightly scented with sweet vanilla, the hydrating formula is enriched with squalane and hyaluronic acid for a long-term boost, while a gentle tingling sensation gives an immediate plumping effect. The colourless serum can be used alone to instantly plump your pout, as a makeup primer to provide the perfect canvas for heavy glosses, or as an overnight treatment to deeply nourish your lips. The consistency is a little tacky, and takes time to absorb into the skin, so best applied in front of a mirror.

Buy now £25.50, Escentual

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Lip Oil Crystal Elixir

After it first launched in 2020, make-up gurus praised the latest addition to Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic range. This serum-oil hybrid glides effortlessly across the lips, aided by the metal roller ball applicator that simultaneously soothes and cools.

The formula is laden with promising ingredients: sqisandryl for plumper looking lips, hyaluronic acid to hydrate and swertian leaf extract to reduce the appearance of fine lines around the lips. Tilbury’s lip oil elixir is also infused with natural antioxidant plant extracts to promote rejuvenation so your lips will look bright and bouncy in no time.

It’s non-greasy and leaves lips soft and smooth with a slight glossy finish. The plumping effects aren’t instantly noticeable however, so be patient with this oil’s gradual effects.

Buy now £28.00, John Lewis

e.l.f Lip Plumping Gloss

This glossy plumper gives you a juicy, pillowy pout. With a slight tingle that makes your lips instantly appear fuller, it also has a soothing sensation thanks to the active ingredient, menthol. Other key ingredients include vitamin E and coconut oil to help nourish and hydrate the skin.

Whether you prefer natural nudes or pretty pinks, choose from 10 shades - and at only £6, there’s no need to limit yourself to one. Free from phthalates, parabens and sulphates, this gloss also promises a friendly formula so you can continue applying throughout your day. It’s slightly on the stickier side however - avoid in windier weather unless you’re okay with trapped hairs in your mouth.

Buy now £6.00, Boots

Clinique Moisture Surge Lip Hydro-Plump Treatment

Clinique know a thing or too about skincare, and the Moisture Surge Lip Hydro-Plump Treatment doesn’t disappoint. This multi-tasking lip product can be used as a conditioner, primer or an overnight mask to ensure a plump pout at any hour of the day.

Shea butter, castor oil and murumuru seed butter deliver intense hydration to instantly plump lips while offering a gently softening texture. Packed full of other nourishing ingredients, this lip treatment will also reduce the appearance of fine lines with continued use. The spherical applicator makes for a smooth distribution across the lips and, with a non-sticky and fragrance free formula, it gives a subtle and natural-looking lip boost.

Buy now £16.00, lookfantastic

Revolution Rehab Overnight Lip Serum

Revolution’s Rehab range is designed to recover and rejuvenate lacklustre skin, lips and brows. The Overnight Lip Serum is a deeply hydrating formula which includes nutritious mango butter and hyaluronic acid, and is deliciously sweet smelling.

As the plumping effects aren’t instant, applying the serum before bed allows your lips to absorb all the benefits of the serum for maximum effect. But, you can use this product during the day to top up hydration as needed. The compact size also makes it perfect for overnight stays so you can have perfectly kissable lips wherever life takes you. Pair with a Revolution lip scrub for extra indulgence.

Buy now £6.00, Boots

PCA Hyaluronic Acid Lip Booster

Founded in 1990 by leading clinicians, PCA Skin develops effective products with science at the core. If you’re after indulgence, then the Hyaluronic Acid Lip Booster is for you. Combining sodium hyaluronate and konjac root to increase lip volume without irritation, the lightweight formula instantly hydrates and soothes. With collagen-stimulating peptides and natural botanical blends, it promises to reduce the appearance of fine lines with continued use.

Somewhere between a moisturiser and a gloss, the light silky texture gives lips a subtle shine without stickiness. Although lips will be left feeling deeply conditioned, the plumping effects aren’t overtly obvious. PCA recommends using twice a day, so best to follow their instruction and be patient with results.

Buy now £41.50, Dermacare

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